Hello my friends!
This morning we were awakened by the sounds of howling monkeys, tropical birds, and exotic frogs. Some of the group took advantage of the opportunity to get up and bird watch. We saw four toucans, the clay colored pigeon (the national bird), social fly catcher, the long tailed tyrant, and other exotic birds. A delicious breakfast of fruit, eggs, and fried bananas followed the bird watching session.
Then we split into two different groups to continue our day. One group started their day with the pineapple tour. This included learning how many pineapples a worker can plant in a day (8,000-10,000 in an eight hour day). The fruit is all completely organic. They use plastic covering, manure for fertilizer, and other environmentally friendly practices to preserve Costa Rica’s natural environment. While touring on our tractor, our tour guide picked a fresh pineapple fresh from the fields and prepared it for the group with a machete. It was easily the best pineapple any of us have ever had. We learned the four tips for selecting the best pineapple. The fruit should be round, have large eyes, a green crown, and a yellow bottom. A fifth tip that we learned was to eat the pineapple right away or keep it in the fridge. All pineapples are picked ripe and ready to eat.
The two groups then met at the white water rafting location for a quick lunch of delicious tacos before we went to our new activity. We white water rafted down level 2-3 rapids. There were five different rafts with six people in each plus a tour guide. This tour included splashing, beautiful water falls, animals, and a short swim in the Sarapiqui River. Soon after we were off to Volcano Lodge to stay. We were welcomed by a scenic view of steaming active volcanoes. A wonderful meal of tilapia, chicken, beef and flan concluded our day.
Our first night together in Huston, Texas, all of our group members were so different coming from so many different states. Now we all seem to be one being in Costa Rica. Not only are we learning about the culture and lifestyle in this country, but also about other states in our own country. We have ended our days enjoying time together in the pools and hot tubs.
La Pura Vida!
Each year, national finalists in the proficiency awards and the American Star Awards programs are offered the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, where they experience different agricultural practices first-hand and learn about the rich history and culture of a country different from their own.
This year, fifty students are traveling on the Costa Rica trip, and have divided into five groups: chupacabra, funky monkeys, shark bait, tree frogs and half sliced pineapples. Each day one of the groups will share the experiences and thoughts from their journey.